Settlement reached in Porterville police wrongful death case


Cathy Connor carries photos of her son, Vincent Steen, wherever she goes. Each has a scripture on the back.

Losing her son to a fatal shooting by Porterville police nearly four years ago still haunts her today.

"This case has never been about money," said Connor. "Obviously, as I a mother I would give up every worldly possession I have to have Vincent back whole and healthy."

Connor and her family were just awarded $750,000.00 in a settlement with the city of Porterville. The wrongful death case ended in a hung jury back in April and was set to go back to court by the end of the year. Connor says to her family the settlement means accountability and justice for her son's death. The city disagrees, but says they hope it brings closure.

Porterville City Manager John Lollis said, "The city is supportive of the risk management authority's settlement of this tragic case that it does come with no admission of guilt or wrongdoing in the issue."

In January 2010, Vincent Steen was riding his bike near his home in Porterville when he was stopped by a police officer. The struggle and chase ended with the 27-year-old shot to death in his home. Connor witnessed the shooting, and says it changed the trust she always had in law enforcement.

Connor explained, "January 10 2010 the police entered my home and shattered that trust within a few seconds after entering the door they shot my unarmed son in the back and killed him."

Connor hopes the case will hold police agencies more accountable when it comes to training their officers properly.

Now that the case is over, she continues to remember her son for the gentle, kind giant he was. Always interested in nature, being healthy and spending time with those who loved him.

"Vincent was a gentle and loving person," said Connor. "His top priorities were god family and friends."

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